Full Size Jeep Invasion
Short Cuts

By: Terry L. Howe - 8/2002

Joe races through the mud puddle at the start of Pougkeepsie.
Josh after putting his fan through his radiator on the obstacle
Full size Jeeps stacked up on the trail.
Full size Jeeps at rest at the BBQ.

The Full Size Jeep Invasion in Ouray, Colorado in August of 2002 was a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the full size Jeep. Wagoneers, Cherokees, J series pickups, M715s, from all over the country came out to run the classic four wheeling around Ouray. Full size Jeep owners enjoyed the mountain air and ghosts towns up in the high country.

When I first heard about the Full Size Jeep Invasion, I just had to go, it sounded like too much fun. It was also a great excuse to buy a full size Jeep and build it up. I found a nice '75 J-10 pickup for $400 that I bought and put a lot of work into. The results were a very streetable and fairly comfortable four wheel drive truck, but perfect for trails like they have in Southwestern Colorado.

After 3 months of wrenching on the truck, it was ready to make the trip. I packed up the truck and headed West. Driving across the state in a truck with 185,000 miles on it is an adventure in itself, but surprisingly, I only had some minor sputtering from vapor lock going over Monarch Pass on a very hot summer day.


Friday morning, I signed in and managed to convince Jason Whitacker to go over Poughkeepsie Gulch with me. We got to the trail head and about a dozen more full size Jeeps showed up to run the trail. Everyone that had wanted to run Imogene changed their minds. We joined the crowd and started headed up into the hills.

Poughkeepsie goes up to around 12,000 feet at the top and a couple of people had vapor lock problems and had to stop and cool down for a little while. It also has a fairly difficult obstacle where I managed to bend my fender a little bit trying a hard line.

After Poughkeepsie, we headed down South of Animas Forks and stopped for a picnic. There were nearly 100 full size Jeeps signed up for the Invasion and 60 of them showed up for the picnic. Several awards were given at the picnic for best of show, ugliest, most trail ready, coolest, tallest, lowest, best custom, and nicest stockish Jeep. It was a great opportunity to take pictures and check out all the interesting Jeeps. There were a lot of nice full size Jeeps out there.


Saturday, I convinced one person to head down Yankee Boy Basin with me, Ben "Obi-Wan" Hollingsworth. I knew Ben from the Internet for years and he was building a 401 for his FSJ just before the event, but did not have enough time to test it before the drive to Colorado from Nebraska, so he was in his Wrangler with his family. I also convinced Sean and his wife Stacey and daughter McKeely to go out there with me. We got to the trail head and a big group of FSJs that were headed down Imogene decided to tag along with us.

About two thirds of the way up, the pivot bolt for my clutch linkage snapped, so I had to crawl the rest of the way in first gear. Sean, Stacey, McKeely and I decided to hike up Mt. Sneffels and everyone else headed out. After our hike, I drove back to town shifting with no clutch. In town, I found Jeff Stemus with a Ready Welder and welded up the pivot bolt and made it just in time for the FSJ BBQ.

A truly well organized event made for a great trip. Thanks to Mike Shimniok, JC, Ethan, Krista, and everyone else that helped organize the event.